IFAB to head-scratch again on concussion protocols

November 28 – Rugby-style temporary substitutions for players suspected of being concussed look like being introduced for the first time at next summer’s Euro 2020.

A long-standing proposal to replace players with head injuries is on the agenda for the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) annual business meeting in Belfast next Tuesday with a change in the law potentially made before the tournament.

“The board will continue the debate, which started during the advisory panel meeting in October, on concussion assessment – and management [of concussion] during matches at different levels of the game will be discussed,” an IFAB statement read.

IFAB is in the process of appointing a group of medical and legal experts to look into the viability of the proposal, which would give players more time to be assessed by team doctors.

In rugby, while the player is off the pitch, teams are allowed to make a temporary substitution which can be reversed if the substituted player is then considered fit to return.

“Any solutions would have to take account of both player welfare and the need for sporting fairness,” said IFAB.

If agreed next week, the issue will then be put to the full annual IFAB meeting on February 29 for ratification and come into effect on June 1, 2020, meaning the Euro 2020 finals would be the first time that competitive football would be played under the new rules.

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